Thursday, June 23, 2005
PLAN FOR WHICH PEOPLE?… Squid spent Monday sunning Squidself, sitting on the beach, laptop on, wireless Internet connection fired up. It was almost a CORONA commercial. Except for the fact that Squid wasn’t downloading music or chatting with Squid’s cousin down in Mexico. Nope, Squid had Squid’s computer tuned to the MONTEREY COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISOR’s special GENERAL PLAN meeting, listening to the live audio feed of Supervisor LOU CALCAGNO talking about “wavering the fees” for developers, Supervisor JERRY SMITH asking long-winded questions that didn’t make any sense and Supervisors BUTCH LINDLEY and DAVE POTTER’s regular comedy routine.
Oh, right, and Squid listened to the supes review proposed policies as part of the ongoing General Plan debate.
At Monday’s meeting the board considered a request by the pro-growth REFINEMENT GROUP to change the makeup of the county PLANNING COMMISSION. Currently, each of the five supervisors appoints two commissioners from his or her district. The Refinement Group wants an 11-member panel made up of more development-friendly types. They propose a panel where each supervisor would appoint one commissioner. The other six would be nominated by six groups—the county AGRICULTURAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE, HOUSING ALLIANCE, GROWER-SHIPPER ASSOCIATION, FARM BUREAU, HOSPITALITY ASSOCIATION AND CENTRAL LABOR COUNCIL—and then selected by the supes.
“It started out with a proposal to have some assured representation from agriculture on the Planning Commission,” Refinement Group ringleader BRIAN FINNEGAN told the supes. Then, other interests wanted a guaranteed seat on the panel: “I’m sure it would have applied to environmental groups if they had stayed with the Refinement Group rather than withdrawing.”
Squid recalls that the supes disbanded the consensus-seeking Refinement Group, which included some environmentalists, back in 2003. Its pro-growth members kept the name and drafted their version of the General Plan, but whatever. Finnegan got his dig in, aimed at the competing COMMUNITY GENERAL PLAN. LANDWATCH, one of the groups involved in drafting this more conservation-minded plan, submitted a letter to the supervisors, commenting on the Refinement Group proposal.
“LandWatch cannot emphasize strongly enough how important it is to reject the proposal by the so-called ‘Refinement Group’ that the current composition of the Planning Commission be changed to place an absolute majority vote in the hands of persons specifically selected by the business and development community. Of all the misguided suggestions that have been made throughout the General Plan Update process, this suggestion would have to rank near the very top in terms of its outrageousness.”
And the hits keep on coming…Ultimately the supes decided to keep the Planning Commission as is, at least for now. “If we get to the point where we want to discuss this issue, it should be a public forum on this issue,” Calcagno said. Wisely, Squid thinks. “We shouldn’t tangle it up in the General Plan.”
Now, back to Squid’s Corona.